Category: Life

Weight Loss Challenge – End of May Update…

Just over two weeks ago (14th May) I started my challenge, but as with all plans, some things get in the way, this was a public holiday weekend, and for once the sun was out in full force, so much so we have only had rain yesterday, which means we have had 2 weeks of solid sun.  But the holiday weekend we ended up having temperatures of 30c, so the BBQ was in full swing, along with wine and a few beers, oh and some yummy desserts, but I did have salad too ha ha!

  • Start:   14 stone 3 pounds (200lb)
  • Today: 13 stone 6 pounds (188lb)
  • Loss:    11 pounds

I had dropped to 1200 calories, or thereabouts, but lately the past few days I have gone to 1000, and today I have not been hungry at all, and have only had 459.  I have decided that if I am not hungry then why eat and consume calories that I do not need.

I am happy with my efforts so far, but really have to make an effort to rehydrate more.  Today I have only drunk 300ml of water, and I should be aiming at 2.2 litres.  I have achieved it quite a few days, but boy it seems so hard to do, but it is a key to weight loss.

The other thing is that I am going on holiday to Devon next week for 8 days, and I know I will be enjoying the local produce, which includes Devon Cream Tea (Scones with Devonshire clotted cream and preserve), Cornish pasties (a little further to go to the next county), ice cream, fudge and cheese to name a few.  I will also be having lots of seafood as it comes straight from the Atlantic, so watch out all you shellfish, I am coming for you, especially the lobsters.

The drive is going to take about 7 hours to get to North Molton which is on the edge of Exmoor National Park, and as we are taking the dogs with us we will need to stop each hour to let them have a stretch, which means we will be stopping where we can eat and drink, so from next Friday I am going to be a bit of a bad boy, but I will try to reign it in and keep some control, no point letting all this time and effort go to waste is there.  My friend E says that I should just enjoy myself and not worry, but I have to be a little sensible, or it will be like when I came back from Rome, 8lb heavier and I walked each day about 10-15 miles (about 30,000 steps a day for 6 days solid).

Watch this space for my next update…

40 Years On…

Over the last 4 years I have met up with lots of family members I never knew (my Mums birth family) or had not seen for 30+ years (cousins, uncles and aunts), today I got to meet my cousins who I have not seen for 40 years.  Only due to Facebook was this possible, I had added cousins, uncles and aunts there and my cousin Gail messaged me a few weeks ago asking if I was the little boy she remembered from all that time back.  She asked if I fancied meeting up and having a catch-up and she would bring her sister Lorraine with her.  Today was the day, and I had a lovely afternoon chatting and recalling things from when I was 8 years old, I even told them where I remembered their house was, their Dads speedboat colours and many many other things.  They were both amazed at the fact I remembered so much from all those years ago.

We talked about family, how my Dads family were estranged due to his lies, telling them we had moved (my Mum still lives in the same house and has done for 46 years) and telling my Nan not to make contact with us.  Like me, their opinion of my father is also very low.  I was saddened to find that their Dad had died in 1999, but glad to hear their Mum is still alive and living in the same house I remember from my childhood.  My Nan was their Nan’s sister, so we talked about both of them and the legendary parties their Nan had at new year.  We shared stories of our memories when we all went on holiday to Devon and Cornwall which was quite a thing as there were so many of us there, usually my family, my Nan, their Nan and Granddad, their family, my uncle and his family and another of my uncles, so we are talking 18 people, our dog Kimmy and some years more, so it was quite an event.

Lorraine had to go to the Dentist at 5, so I took Gail home and met her husband and kids, so again more connections added to my family tree.  Both girls live around the corner from where I was born and lived as a toddler, and not far from my aunts where we spent lots and lots of time from when we were kids to my late 20’s.  The coincidences were in abundance, and we think that we would have passed each other many many times, but never known it.  Gail and her husband also go to the pinewoods all the time, so it is possible that we have passed each other again, but never known it.

We have vowed to keep in touch and to meet up again in a week or so and bring our spouses with us, and when they are going to the woods to let us know and we will meet them down there and our dogs can meet too.  This seems like the first of my family that genuinely want to keep in touch, and we are planning to go and visit their mum as a surprise too.

So today’s reunion has been a good day all round and I am looking forward to the next chapter.

January Diet…

So far, so good.  Although I really fancy something sweet apart from fruit.  As well as watching what I eat, calories lowered greatly, I have also given up sugar and caffeine too.  The caffeine is not a problem, although I do miss my coffee, however, I do have some decaf espresso that will be sufficient.

Usually, in the evening M and I eventually get to sit down and relax on the sofa, usually with a mug of tea each and either some biscuits or a bag of sweets/candy/chocolate.  Sugar is a something I consume too much of, along with full-fat milk.  In tea and coffee, I tend to have two spoons of sugar, and I drink copious amounts of both, but when I get into bed I switch to milk, sometimes normal milk, sometimes sterilised, but both full-fat.  Add a tube of smarties or a bag of jellies and that is my standard evening reading in bed.  But the glass of milk tends to be two or three glasses, or in the case of sterilised milk a whole litre.  Yep, I am addicted to milk.  It is my only real vice, and ever since being a kid I have consumed pints of it, and in adulthood, the pints have increased far too much, roughly 21+ pints a week.  Not that milk is a bad thing.

Another love of mine is peanut butter.  I could eat a whole jar of it in one go, but 3000 calories in one go is a little outrageous, but I could do it in a heartbeat.  I hated peanut butter and could not even bear the smell, then one day a few years ago I decided to eat a Snicker bar, then I decided to try some peanut butter, and realised what I was missing, and since, like milk, have not stopped eating it.

It is only a few days in so things could change, but I am hoping that I stick to this.  M even binned my Christmas cake, which I was totally gutted about, as I love it, but, in the end, it had to be done.

 

Scarlet, and other stories…

Ok, well, if I am honest, Scarlet will not be featuring in this post, I don’t know her.

Tuesday’s Child… Busy week again this week.  On Tuesday I had to go to the hospital again for my heart scan.  So for all those who think I do not have a heart, it turns out I do have one.  The lady who did the scan said that recorded the extra and missed beats, and that the speed of it is at the upper level of fast and she would add all that to her report for my cardiologist.  I am there again on Monday to get another 24-hour monitor fitted, then again on Tuesday to have it removed and downloaded.  One thing I like about this hospital is it is efficient and all the appointments are on time every time and the fact that it is a specialist hospital dealing with hearts and chest only.  Unless there is a major problem, I do not think I will know much this year.

Road to Your Soul…  Wednesday I went out with my friend E.  I first met her when I started working for her when I was in my mid 20’s, now in my late 40’s we are still friends and have a great laugh with each other.  We went to one of our favourite restaurants which is situated about 6 miles away.  We started with large Tanqueray gins.  Starters ordered, and we moved on to a rather fine Italian Rioja, which was delicious, especially with the queen scallops and black pudding stuffed pigs cheeks. Main courses, E had a Christmas Turkey roast dinner as she will be in Mexico for Christmas, so will not have a traditional dinner.  I had tender liver in a red wine sauce with creamed potato and carrot and turnip.  Another gin at this point arrived as we had finished the wine.  Desert for me was cinder toffee Eton mess which needless to say was amazing, E had coconut rum and raisin, not my idea of a desert but she enjoyed it.  Next was a couple of amarettos and a cheese board, followed by more amaretto.  We paid the bill and moved to the bar, and E started messing about with the reindeers on display, madness ensued and we had a laugh.  More gin, this time Hendricks then I went onto the Jack Daniels.  After several, we decided to call it a night and got our taxi cabs home.

Only One Reason…  Amazon finally sorted themselves out, apologies quite a lot and added a few free months to my account.  They spoke to the transport team and started an investigation as to why so many of my deliveries are lost or majorly delayed.  I received all the refunds that I should have had and an assurance that it would never happen again.  The latter promise I have taken with a pinch of salt as I know they will screw up again, but I really hope that they don’t as I could not deal with all the problems again.  Tomorrow will tell as I have three things coming to the house.

Dream Now…  Finally got my 7mm circular I can now finish making my sweater.  I have sewn the shoulders together and picked up a load of stitches so I can now do the large ribbed turtleneck.  I was going to do some tonight but decided to do it tomorrow as I want the light and to get it right from the start.  I had to pick up a collection of stitches that were divisible by 6 + 2, for example, 62 stitches.  If I get an early start I should finish it by the end of the day, and a big YAY to me if I do.  After sewing the shoulders together I opped it over my head and M said that it looked really nice and expensive too, which is great news.  Once I have finished it I will post some photos of it.

Pieces of Our Hearts…  All the presents are wrapped and under the tree, all the essential none perishable items have been bought and are in the larder awaiting the big day.  Mazikeen is a little too interested in the presents under the tree, so much so that she stole one and ripped it open, one of mine to be exact, however, M got to it fast enough that I did not see what it was, but it was a lovely box it was in, whatever it is.  Harper keeps looking at the stuff under the tree, and since there are about 60 items there is a lot to look at.  I know what she is doing, she is looking and sniffing to see if she can see something for her.  Her and Maz have a lot of things to open, but we have them upstairs out of the way, or they will end up stealing them.  Lilu loved Christmas and on the big day she knew it was her time to open lots of presents (we spoiled her), she taught Harper how to open them over the years, both of them experts.  This will be the first Christmas in this house without her, so will be a little odd, but she will be with us in spirit.

Blind Lemon Sam…  The pup has started growing at an alarming rate.  I was a little worried as she just seemed to be the same size for over a month, but this week she has had a growth spurt, and when I came home yesterday evening she seems to have increased by 50% since last seeing her just 10 hours earlier.  I bought her an elf sweater for a small dog, that would have done a week ago, and it is quite tight on her, she looks adorable, but a little snug in it.  I wanted to get Harper one, but they did not have one big enough, shame really.  Mazikeen has only had a few accidents lately and seems to be getting better with her toileting. I have taught her more tricks which is funny to watch, and she now can get onto the sofa with no problem, although still cannot get on to our bed, it is really high.

The Pearl Fisherman…  Well that it so far for my update, fingers crossed I can get back to posting more and reading everyone’s blogs, which seems to have been put on hold, but I will catch up and read everyone’s posts over the past few months.  Just have to get next week out of the way, and I think normality will be resumed.

The Empty Dancehall…  In case anyone was wondering about the titles and the name of my post, it is from a group called All About Eve, the album is Scarlet, and other Stories and the bold are titles of songs.  I went to see All About Eve back in 1989 in Liverpool and totally loved them, and have spoken to Julianne Regan many times, she even recommended that I read ‘On Ther Periphery’ about David Sylvian, which I loved reading.

What Snow?

I love the snow, and each year we have to go and look for it, and this year is no exception to the rule.  The whole of the country seems to have snow, be it think 12″ or just a smattering of the white stuff, but here, in our little microclimate we do not have a drop, not one flake has fallen, and as I look out at the sky whilst writing this in my office, I see blue sky with some white clouds, well quite a lot of cloud, but the point is, I see blue sky.  I can see my twitter stream flying by on the side of the screen and everyone is posting about #UKSnow but not here in our little village.

Yesterday I went to the next county to get produce from Booths, and it was snowing there, only 9.5 miles away, there is a  market town which is only 8.2 miles away from my house had snowfall, but again we missed it.

The last time we had snow here was in 2010, and the whole country had it and no one escaped, and that was such fun.  Our car was buried under 2 foot of snow, and we had temperatures in the night of -18° c with daytime ranging from -5°c to -10°c.  We went for a very slow walk in the village and met so many people all chatting and having a really nice time of it, enjoying something that is rare here.  At the time we only had Lilu, and she loved it, although I did have to make a pathway in the garden for her and it quite literally buried her when she went out in it.

I have checked with the Met office and so far we are going to miss all the snow again.  Talk about Bar Humbug!

Here are some Pictures from 18th December 2010 when we last had snow.

The Beach

My car is somewhere under that.

Lilu having a great time in the snow, she always loved playing in it.

Even the road signs have been buried

Sweater, Fish & Other Updates

It has been a very busy week, not only with the pup but I had to go to the dentist in the next village and the heart and chest hospital for tests on my heart which was an hour drive each way (not that I mind I enjoy driving).

I have managed to get some knitting done, and have finished one sleeve and have started the next one which so far is just the cuff and a few lines (13cm).  Once this sleeve is finished I then have to do the neck then sew the lot together, which will be fun.  Then the best bit, wearing this bad boy.  Today, I decided to do some more, but then I had an urge to carry on reading one of the novels I am halfway through called “The Dynamite Room” by Jason Hewitt, so down went the knitting.

The pup has turned into a vampire dog that’s in fast forward mode all the time.  She is not the first puppy we have had, so we know the drill, but it is amazing how in three years you forget all the sleepless nights, biting and cleaning up you have to do.  She is learning fast, she uses the puppy training pads 90% of the time, with the odd accident, or just plain missing the pad.  I think she is getting used to her name and she seems to respond to it, or the fact that she just responds to our voices, who knows.  I can get her to sit on command if she thinks she is getting some kibble but all in all she is just a wild animal.  We have managed to get her to use her crate.  All our other dogs have loved being in their crates whilst being puppies, but Maz just did not like it.  Yesterday I read online an article about getting puppies to change their minds about being crated.  We moved it to the lounge and put her lounge bed inside along with some toys and put in a few treats.  Popped her in and as she could smell the treats she started to search for them, once eaten she lay down all snug waiting for more.  The article stated that the crate should be a place where nice things happen, so I closed the door and popped kibble though to her, this was a great game and she loved it.  Not to panic her I opened the cage door again and there she stayed.  Later she was in and out, and when she was knackered off she went into it.  Bedtime though was a different story and she was not too interested in staying there, so she slept on the bed again.

We received Mazikeen’s five generation pedigree certificate yesterday too, so now need a frame for it.  It was interesting seeing all the details and that all her ancestors are champion gun dogs, she will be letting the side down, but I know that a lot of her siblings have gone to working homes so the line will continue.

Yesterday and today I have taken Harper out on long walks, just the two of us.  Yesterday we went all around the forest and walked about 5 miles.  Today we only managed 3.5 miles as we were walking along the streets, so there was nothing exciting for her to see or investigate, apart from saying hello to the odd dog out walking with its human.

Since Friday I have been in a fight with Amazon.  I have an Amazon Echo unit and three Echo Dots, and the large Echo kept falling off the network, and I would have to go through set up time and time again, it got to the point of having to do this five plus times a day.  I called them on Wednesday, and the guy said he would send out a new one, however, on Friday what arrived was a refurbished unit.  I called Amazon and the guy blatantly lied to me telling me it was a brand new unit until I pointed out that it stated refurbished on the box and had no cables, instructions or other things that should be in the box, and the outer sleeve that should be in it was not there either.  He backed down after I insisted he was lying and that I would now go to trading standards as they have to exchange like for like, i.e. a new one not a second hand one.  He then told me the only option was for me to send both units back for a full refund, and I could buy a new one if I wanted.  I told him that I just want him to replace it with a new one that works as per the guarantee.  He insisted that was not an option.  I told him that they were now breaking the law and I will report them for this on Monday, and I would shame them on social networks and go as far as I could.  He told me he would then go and find out what he could do and call me back, needless to say, he didn’t.  Now my problem with having a full refund and buying another one was this; I bought the unit on Prime Day, so got it for £79.99 rather than the standard price of £149.99, so in essence, I would lose £70 in purchasing a replacement.  I had told him this and he was not interested.  After a few hours I called them back again and spoke to a lady who agreed that the unit needs to be replaced with a new one, and decided that she would give me a £25 credit towards a new one, and when I send the old unit back would get a full refund of the price paid.  I decided to go with this as it seemed to be the only solution to getting a new one and left it at that.  Then in the middle of the night, I woke and thought, they are going to give me a refund of the price I paid back on Prime Day so I would be £45 down.  I decided to email them expressing my concern and telling them that I had spoken to a solicitor friend and wanted full confirmation as to what will happen when I get the new unit and send the old one back and that I had already sent back to refurbished/second-hand unit.  His answer was confusing:

“I understand that you’ve been charged for the replacement item. I’ve checked your previous correspondences with us and seen that one of our colleagues had provided you with two options. One is issuing a 25GBP promo using which you can purchase the order again and the other being issuing a full refund in the amount 149GBP once the order is shipped to your address.
In this regard, I’d like to inform you that since the order is still on the “Shipping soon” status we don’t have an option to issue a refund for this purchase. As soon as the status changes, we’ll issue a full refund for the order.”

He gave me the order number associated with the latest unit and said I would get a full refund, so I am happy with it if it works out like that.  But this was not the end of my arguments with Amazon.  I should have had a dog whistle and a book delivered on Friday, but for some reason, they never arrived.  I called again and asked where my stuff was.  I had ordered them on Wednesday and the screen stated delivery Thursday, but as soon as I paid for the item it said delivery Friday.  The lady apologies for this as it was bought with two hours left for next day delivery, and as for the missing package, she said that she would monitor it and if not arrived by 9pm she would schedule delivery for Saturday.  Surprise surprise it did not arrive on Saturday either, so today I had to call them over this again and told the lady to cancel the order immediately and give me a full refund on a gift card so I could reorder the items for delivery tomorrow.  She put me on hold for a few minutes and then told me she was refunding me in full to my bank and it would be there in about 4 days.  I quickly tried to interrupt her as she had not done what I had asked and in the end shouted at her as she continually talked over me.  I reiterated that I wanted it as a gift card so that I could buy them again for tomorrow delivery, she sighed and put me on hold again, then when coming back said she had done as I requested.  An hour later the money was on the gift card and I purchased the items again.  However, not content with the service and the fact that this is the 10th order that has been “lost in transit” I emailed them to say how pissed off with this particular delivery office that has lost all 10 packages, and broken one of my items.  I accused them of stealing the items as they are tracked and the barcode scanned when they are put on the van, so how in hell have they been “lost” from the van.  They have a delivery schedule that tells them which item to deliver next so it has to be on the van or stolen, there is no other way it could go missing.  For my efforts, they apologised and said they would investigate this despatch office to see why things are going missing all the time.  My partner has also lost many packages too.

My final chore of today was to clean out the sump for my aquarium.  Those of you who have been following my blog and read about my “Wet Project” will know that I have put a lot of work into building quite an advanced system and balanced environment for my fish.  Cleaning out the sump is dead easy, but, and it is a big but, I had live baby fish in there.  They had been born in the tank, managed to get into the weir and then taken a death-defying ride through the drainage pipes into the sump.  I thought there were only a few, but over an hour of watching and catching them, I ended up with over 30 babies, and have now put them in one of my little tanks in the kitchen to grow and thrive before putting them back in the aquarium.  One final thing that has stumped me with my aquarium is that my reedfish has vanished.  I have checked the weir and he isn’t in there, or in the giant Inca head or the Inca temple, and he could not have escaped from the tank itself as there is no way out apart from the slide doors on the top which are closed all the time, and if he had managed that he would be on top of the tank and could not have got off there as there is a surround that is 6 inches high.  He could have made it through the pipes from the weir to the sump, but he was not there either.  Total mystery as he was there on Thursday.

So that’s the week so far, and I get to do it all again from tomorrow.

Happy 17th Birthday Lilu

Today Lilu would have been 17 years old.  We always took her to McDonalds for a cheeseburger (no onions of course) to celebrate, that and a lot of treats and toys.  As my readers know, we lost Lilu just over a month ago.  However, we decided to carry on with tradition and went to McDonalds, bought 2 cheeseburgers with no onions, one for Harper and the other as a symbol for Lilu.  Even though she was not there in physical form, we hope that she was with us in spirit and enjoying her birthday.

Happy Birthday sweetie x

So-called plans…

rain-122691_640

We joined the national trust this week and thought, what the hell, let’s go to Lyme Park, spend the day there, and of course, take Harper with us. We have not been there for about 6 years. Even though we would not be able to go into the house with the dog, we were happy to walk around the grounds and deer park, go to the dog-friendly cafe and just have a relaxing day.

We woke just before 7 and the weather had not turned out the way it was supposed to be. So, we stayed in bed for another hour and waited for the sun to pop out. He did not turn up, and the rains started, and have not stopped all day. The road is flooding, not too bad, but all the same, it is relentless.

What will we do with the day? Shopping was already done, walking Harper between the early showers was not exactly going to do much. Rather than sit waiting for the weather to break, we decided to change the master bedroom around, move the bed to the gable end of the house, then a bit of housework. This was all done by about 12pm. So, what now? I planted more plants in the aquarium, did a small water change, and went to the supermarket again, this time for salty snacks and beer.

I made scouse yesterday in the slow cooker, which we ate some of for lunch, and are having the rest of it tonight for dinner, so cooking is out of the question.

Today feels like a Sunday, and we have the real Sunday tomorrow. May have to relieve the boredom of the weekend with a back to back box set watching of Lucifer, Preacher, Frasier, Big Bang and of course Moonlighting.

Goodbye, My Sweet Girl Lilu

Yesterday M and I said our final goodbye to Lilu.  My little girl was close to 17 years old and had finally grown tired of her life.

                           Lilu In the RSPCA

                     Lilu’s First Day Home

Back in 2003, we adopted her from the RSPC. She had been abandoned in south Liverpool and had gone from centre to centre and for some reason no one wanted her. Unknown to us she was in the last shelter as they were going to put her to sleep if no one adopted her. We found this out a few months after adopting her. She had arrived at the shelter and the next day we happened to go in and see her. She looked sad and thin and peered through the bars of the pen at us. It was instant love at first sight. We asked to see her, and knowing she was very timid, I sat on the floor at her level talking quietly to her. She came over to see who I was and looked me directly in the eyes, then stepping forward put her feet on my shoulder, never looking away, then licked the face off me. This to me was her adopting us and not the other way round. We brought her home and she instantly made it her home. I admit we did have difficult times with her due to her having abandonment issues, but we worked through it and in the end, she settled down and stopped being destructive. I have always had dogs in my life from when I was a toddler so knew that it would work out and what to expect. Even when she tore up two hall carpets and literally ate through a sofa, we carried on because we expected it.

 Lilu in Hydrotherapy

In 2010, whilst out on a walk she stumbled and fell on the field whilst running after her ball. A small yelp and she did not get up again. I ran over to her to find she could not get up and her back end was paralysed. We called the vets office which was closed but had emergency services and they took one look and referred us to the Animal Hospital 46 miles away. When we got there the vet team took her in and made her comfortable and would do MRI scans, X-rays and more the next morning as by this time it was late. We went home expecting the worse and hoping for the best. She was in hospital for about 5 weeks and each night after work I would drive home, collect M and drive to the hospital so we could see her, and on the weekends we would go in the morning and visit her for an hour or two, then go get lunch, visit her again, leave and have dinner, and go back to see her until it was late and we then went home, only to do it all again the next day. Eventually, she made a recovery and came home, but two or three times a week we would be back at the hospital for her to have laser treatment, infrared treatment, and hydrotherapy. This along with the exercises done by both us and the hospital enabled her to walk unaided again, although she would never walk properly.

2017 Lilu started to slow down, and although the vet said that she has life left in her she did have problems. Her heart was slowing down, her lungs scarred and she had a slightly underactive thyroid. She was given medication and seemed to respond well to the steroid for her lungs, and her cough seemed to go. However, after some time we were told to reduce the steroids so we could get a balance that was right for her, alas, her cough came back again and never went. The thyroid tablets did not agree with her and rather than give her more energy, she started to sleep all the time. In the end, we stopped the thyroid tablets and she picked up again, but her cough was still there, and she had bouts of vomiting and loose bowel movements. Again, we dealt with it as she seemed to eat well and was generally upbeat. Then she started to slow again, and the vet suggested we prepare ourselves as they could prescribe all kinds of medication, but to what end? Quality of life to us was far more important than quantity of life.

If you have been following my blog, then you will know that we had to go to Ireland, this was to see M’s mum, as she is in a nursing home, and he had not seen her for 18 months. We got back after being away for 5 days and Lilu was her usual self, however, the next day (Tuesday) her muzzle was red, she developed a temperature and had terrible diarrhoea. I booked the vet for the next day, this was yesterday. She had slept a lot of the day, would not eat or drink and just looked very tired.

The vet looked at her and said that she could keep her in, put her on a drip, give antibiotics and see if she would improve, but we knew deep down that the time had come. I asked her what her honest professional advice would be as we only wanted a quality of life for Lilu. The vet said it would only be a few days and we would be back again, and in the meantime, she could get worse. Her temperature was 2 degrees above normal, and the vet thought that she may have an infection that was running throughout her body and without invasive investigation they could not be certain. Either way, our hands were tied.

6:30pm Lilu had a line inserted into her front left leg and we sat with her, stroking and talking to her. She had been given a sedative, so was very calm. All the time she kept giving us “kisses” and just after 6:40pm, the vet started the procedure. My heart broke and the tears flowed down my face, all the time stroking her, keeping eye contact, more “kisses”, then she lay her head down and fell asleep.

My heart is broken, and dare I say will be for a long time. Her bed, bowls and other bits will stay where they are until we are ready to put them away. Her collar is in her memory box along with all her documents, and other collars she had through the years. Her name tag and contact barrel are on the wall next to my computer, so whenever I am sat here I can see them and imagine here curled up at my feet.

This is the last photo I have of her taken jin Liverpool on 5th August. We had just been for a walk along the dock front. She was tired, as mentioned her mobility was not all that good, but she always had a go. Coming back to the car she slowed right down. She had dragged one of her back paws and it had bled, so she was getting lots of deserved attention and fussing which always made her happy.

I will miss the smelly farts, getting woken in the middle of the night so she could go for a pee. I will miss that she was deaf and when she yawned she made funny yowl noises. Her constant want to sit on the sofa with us, then getting of minutes later only to want to be lifted up again to sit with us. Her playing with her teddy bears and stripping their stuffing out all over the house, her last one given to her only on Monday which she walked about with it in her mouth, just chewing on it softly. But most of all I will miss her unquestionable love, her cuddles and kisses, and that beautiful face that has been in our lives for 14 years.

Our dogs have always come with us wherever we go, from shopping to holidays. The only exception was Christmas 2009, and when we went to Rome, Amsterdam and last week in Ireland. We have decided to have her cremated, and her ashes put in a wooden box that will come with us whenever we go on days out and when we holiday in the UK. She loved to go out in the car on days out and to new places, especially on holiday.

I love you little girl and will miss you until the day we are reunited again.

Aquarium…

After our jaunt to unexotic lands, I found on our return that I had lost a few fish, one of my reedfish, a rainbow shark, an oranda and two mollys. Needless to say, I was not happy at all, these things are not cheap to buy and the oranda I had had for years. I tested the water and there were no problems apart from quite a bit water evaporation in the sump.

With a heavy heart and a flush of the toilet, they all went to the watery heaven and I took myself off to the aquatic shop to get more fish. I bought a male Siamese fighter, two silver dollars, two shrimps, and two gouramis.

The silver lining to the very ugly death cloud was one of the fish had given birth and there are a few baby fish hiding around the tank, and one managed to make its way through the filter grill into the weir, then took a ride down the pipes into the sump. I thought of moving him to the main tank but decided that he can stay there as he would have a better chance of survival as one of the others would probably eat him. So with the birth of the fish, I can rest assured that the tank levels must be okay.

Photos to follow later.

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